Valproate (VPA)-associated hyperammonemic encephalopathy independent of elevated serum VPA levels: 21 cases in China from May 2000 to May 2012

Minfeng Cheng, Xiumei Tang, Shenglin Wen, Jihui Yue, Hong Wang
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2013, 54 (5): 562-7
Valproate (VPA) is a medication that is widely used in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Valproate-induced hyperammonemic encephalopathy (VHE) is a rare central nervous system adverse effect of this medication that is characterized by impaired consciousness, which can range from drowsiness to coma; increased seizure frequency; acute cognitive symptoms; and gastrointestinal symptoms. In this manuscript, we report a single case and also review previous cases of VHE (n=20) in Chinese patients to identify risk factors for VHE. Increasing clinicians' awareness of VHE during concomitant VPA therapy is of utmost importance. Serum ammonia level is a useful and important diagnostic test. The discontinuation of VPA is currently the mainstay of treatment for VHE.

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